SACRAMENTO (CBS NEWS) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Friday due to a lack of vaccines in a deadly hepatitis A outbreak in several California counties, CBS Los Angeles reports.

The declaration allows the state to "increase its supply of hepatitis A vaccines in order to control the current outbreak," Gov. Brown said in a statement.

While immunizations from the federal vaccine program have been distributed to at-risk populations in affected areas in Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Cruz counties, Brown's proclamation allows the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to immediately purchase and distribute vaccines to affected communities.

California is experiencing the largest hepatitis A outbreak in the United States transmitted from person to person -- instead of by contaminated food -- since the vaccine became available in 1996.

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